Revealed: the top 12 financial worries according to the self-employed

Money worries can affect every small business owner, whether it’s fretting over keeping clients on board or feeling uncertain about your cashflow.

If you find these things playing on your mind then you’re not alone. A new survey by Solution Loans has uncovered which financial responsibilities small business owners and the self-employed find most stressful.

From least to most stressful, here’s what’s keeping UK business owners awake at night.

12. Funding marketing efforts

When you’re thinking about all your other outgoing costs, marketing can often take a back seat, which may be why only 18 per cent of those polled said it was a financial stress for them.

Still, marketing can be crucial to business success. Check out our list of marketing mistakes to avoid - so long as you don’t have too much on your plate already.

11. Unexpected tax bills

And marketing isn’t the only concern when it comes to budgets. With Self Assessment only coming around once a year it can be easy to forget how big a sting tax bills can be.

Which is probably why over one in five of those polled said that an unexpectedly large tax bill was one of their biggest worries. And as the government have shelved their ‘making tax digital’ plans for now, we won’t be seeing quarterly tax returns for at least a few years.

10. Investing in new ideas

When you’re running a business, it’s tricky enough keeping things afloat - let alone stressing about bringing new ideas into the mix.

However, when you do decide to invest in research and development, it can be yet another financial worry. In fact, small business owners say they’re concerned about investment in new ideas equally as much as unexpected tax bills.

9. Finding funding

While there are a number of schemes out there, finding the right one for you, applying for it, and actually succeeding in securing the funding can be a long and difficult process.

Though whether or not you need funding depends on where your business is and what plans you have. Finding funding proved to be a worry for a quarter of small business owners.

8. Paying competitive salaries

When it comes to hiring your first employee - and every employee after that - their salary becomes another outgoing cost. And if you want to keep the best people working for you, you need to pay them a competitive salary.

This could be why 28 per cent of people who took the survey said retaining top talent was a major money worry. Interestingly, female business owners appear more worried about wage bills - 20 per cent more than men.

7. Managing overheards

Male business owners, on the other hand, were more likely to be concerned with managing overheads - paying bills, utilities, and rent on office space. Overall, nearly a third of respondents said this was their biggest financial concern.

6. Lack of knowledge about their company’s financial situation

Getting a handle on the financial matters of your company - whether it’s cashflow, managing overheads, or maintaining your profitability - is made all the more difficult if you feel out of your depth with monetary matters.

That’s the case for almost a third of small business owners, according to this study. 32 per cent of respondents said their lack of knowledge on their company’s financial situation was a major concern.

If you’re finding yourself struggling with this side of your business, you could consider hiring an accountant, or using accounting software designed particularly for small businesses.

5. Maintaining the flow of new business

Heading into the top five, keeping new business coming in was a worry for almost half of those polled.

Though marketing efforts and investing in R&D can often help with this, it appears fewer business owners take this into account.

4. Late client payments

Late payments takes one of the highest places, which won’t come as a huge surprise given that last year small businesses were owed £26 billion in late payments.

Over half of small business owners said that late payments were a significant financial worry for them - which is understandable, given they can cause a small business to close its doors.

3. Continuing to remain profitable

If your business isn’t profitable then you don’t have a business. Many entrepreneurs have struggled over the last decade as the whole world saw an economic downturn.

Though things look financially brighter than they did back in 2007, 58 per cent of small business owners still say that maintaining profitability is always on their mind.

2. Managing cashflow

Whether you’re buying stock, investing in office space or searching for funding, keeping yourself in the green is vital for your business to function.

And it’s not always easy - especially if, like 32 per cent of small business owners, you find financial matters cause you confusion. Still, nearly double that amount worry about cashflow, with 60 per cent saying it’s a major concern.

1. Losing existing clients

Building your business is all very well, what do you do if it starts to fail?

According to the survey, the biggest monetary worry for British small business owners is keeping clients on board. 64 per cent of those who responded said that this is what causes them the most stress.

While it’s important to keep on top of financial matters, undue worry and stress won’t help make things better. If you find you’re fretting without actually taking positive steps to sort your finances out, take a moment to read our tips to help small business owners de-stress and then see if you can be more productive.

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